Skip to Content

Female Physician-Researchers Make Less than Their Male Peers

A study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that male physician-researchers out-earn their female colleagues by approximately $12,000 a year, even taking into account factors such as specialty, academic rank, leadership positions held, number and prestige of publications, and research time.

A team of researchers led by University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, oncologist Reshma Jagsi analyzed self-reports from a 2009-2010 nationwide postal survey addressed to 1729 recipients of the National Institutes of Health’s K08 and K23 research awards (which fund patient-oriented research) from 2002-2003. Of those contacted and deemed eligible for the study, 800 participated and reported their salaries as well as details about their research and clinical careers.
Jagsi and her colleagues broke the responses down by gender, age, race, seniority, degree earned, specialty, and more. When they ran a regression model to tease out which factors affected salary, they found that, all else being equal, a woman making $100,000 would make $112,000 if she were a man.
The authors say that their results should be a wake-up call for those who view the salary gender gap in academic-physician science (or really any scientific field) merely as a result of male physician-researchers working longer hours, holding more senior positions, being more productive, and so on.